Formula 1 2013 team guide: Williams

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Founded: 1978
Based: Grove
Constructors’ titles: 9
Drivers’ titles: 7
Engine: Renault
2012 Championship position: 8th

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Team principal: Frank Williams
Technical director: Mike Coughlan
Drivers: Pastor Maldonado, Valtteri Botas

It seems a long time ago that Williams were racking up three drivers’ titles in a row in the early 1990s; the team that Sir Frank Williams gave his name to are not so much a sleeping giant these days as a comatosed tramp on a park bench, struggling to recall hazy memories of past glory.

For a team steeped in the glorious traditions of such racing luminaries as Mansell, Prost, Senna, Hill and Villeneuve, these are comparatively inauspicious times.

Indeed before Pastor Maldonado took first place in the Spanish Grand Prix for them last season, Williams had to suffer the indignity of going through what felt like an interminable run of 131 races without a win. That victory gave the team succour and maybe, just maybe, a platform to build on this season.

Behind the scenes though, preparation for the 2013 season hasn’t run as smoothly as they might have hoped. Losing Toto Wolff to Mercedes was a blow that appears to leave a power vaccum at the top of the team. That may have contributed to them missing the first test event of the season.

They’ve also had a severe rap of the knuckles from the FIA over a problem with a dodgy exhaust vane which has yet to be resolved.

Still, there are reasons to be cheerful. Sir Frank’s 70 years of nouse and knowhow are invaluable and Maldonado has undoubted, if unpredictable, quality.

The Venezuelan is impressed by the technical improvements made to this years FW35 car, the new gear box and rear suspension in particular giving cause for optimism, and his panache in the driving seat ought to be rewarded with a significant point-scoring season.

Talk of a reawakening for Williams might be premature but there are certainly stirrings of a revival. 2013 is unlikely to herald a return to the hegemony of old, but it could well be a step in the right direction.

Did you know?
Williams doesn’t stop at Formula One cars; an offshoot of the team called Williams Hybrid Systems is responsible for making electromechanical flywheels for buses and trams.

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Testing, testing
Susie Wolff, wife of Mercedes team owner Toto, is the test driver for Williams. The 30-year-old hails from Oban in Scotland and is tipped by many to become the first female driver in F1 history.